Fountain City Bar Association hosts Criminal Records Restriction - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fountain City Bar Association hosts Criminal Records Restriction and Expungement Clinic

(Source: Marla Spence/WTVM) (Source: Marla Spence/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Three attorneys, one judge and a chief assistant district attorney in Fountain City all dedicated their Saturday to helping people with criminal records get their lives back on track. 

A Criminal Records Restriction and Expungement Clinic was held at Bellwood Baptist Church in Columbus. 

"This has been a battle for me, a journey as well as others who've been convicted of crimes in their past and their youth days," says Derrick Bunn.  

Derrick Bunn was convicted on a felony charge for burglary 18 years ago. 

After serving his time and moving forward, Bunn says the missing link to a fulfilled life is having his record clean.

Attorney Katonga Wright says although it could take some time her aim is to help Bunn and many others like him to get their feet back on the ground. 

"Depending on the route that most suitable for a particular individual it can go anywhere between 150 days to a year depending on the process," says Wright.

Bunn says the time served for his felony charge was his first offense at 19 years old. He says it's hindered him from following his dreams. 

"I have two degrees and yet I'm still challenged for jobs and positions even with degrees because of my history," says Bunn.

Although Bunn is a professional barber his degrees are in IT network engineering. He says he would love to work in his field of expertise but has no chance because of his criminal record.

"I'm not an addict, I'm not a user so random drug test are a breeze for me it all comes down to that background check and what the employers sees not employable and what will be employable."

Attorney Wright says although the process is lengthy there is hope for Bunn and many others like him looking to have a clean slate. 

"You need to have had a completed conviction between two to five years but there are certain exceptions and certain wavers you can apply," says Wright.

About 30 people showed up for today's clinic. 

Along with Attorney Katonga Wright, Attorney Jennifer Dunlap, Attorney Alex ShaliShali, Judge Ray Tillery and Chief Assistant District Attorney AL Whitaker were all helping people move into the right direction towards a fresh start. 

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